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Guest post Aaron Kah


When her husband died eight years ago, Agnes Behoumié, 41, was left all alone in a mud house, with a thatched roof with her five children. Agnes grappled with the daily challenges to feed and send her children to school. She had a farm, though, left to her by her late husband. This was her primary source of income. But the farm wasn’t doing so well. Over time, the land became less fertile. The widow depended upon cassava byproducts like gari and kukum for an income. She also sold fruit and groundnuts to complement her family income. Her monthly income stood at 30,000 FCFA ($60).

Agnes registered her membership with Groupe d’Initiative Commune des l’Elites Agricole de Yambassa (GICOMELY), in search of hope and comfort. The group applied for Heifer International Cameroon’s assistance. Heifer International Cameroon came to their rescue. The first step was a workshop on the just and sustainable development, improved sheep husbandry, report writing, record keeping and filing, gender equity and HIV and AIDS. The group members were later given seeds, farm materials and cash to help them interested in coming to the trainings. Agnes received 30.000 FCFA ($ 60) to supplement the construction of her sheep pen to start a sheep project. The gifts helped Agnes make ends meet. In her community men mostly did the sheep rearing, but Agnes shunned this stereotype. “At first I saw the keeping of sheep to be a man’s job but from knowledge gained from Heifer International Cameroon I have made up my mind to come over this,” the widow said. With income from the sale of food crops she bought timber and made a good pen. Her hopes and aspirations were high. “The animals will provide me income, with which to send my children to school and pay their hospital bills. I will use its manure to fertilize my farm, and the food crops and meat will aid us to feed well and to source money for any extra spending,” She said.

Agnes said that the trainings enabled her to keep good records of all her farm produce. “The trainings received have enabled me to start recording all that I harvest from my farms and what I have invested in the sheep house,” she said. According to Agnes this alone helped her sense of belonging and community participation. “My brother in law who wanted to inherit me now gives me respect and has shunned the idea, I am sure that before the end of the project, my live will change positively,” she continued. Agnes works every day for success. “I will ever remain grateful to Heifer International Cameroon, for her support to under privileged persons like me. I pray that the organization should live forever,” she concluded.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, January 01, 2011,

2 Comments:

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